Are you overqualified?
The idea for this post came from a Mashable.com post called What to Do When You’re Overqualified for a Job!
This is a problem that a lot of baby boomers encounter. Let’s look at it from an employer’s perspective. Are they looking for overqualified workers? Have you ever seen a “help wanted” sign that said I want overqualified workers?
The Mashable article poses five options on what to do:
- Be honest
- Focus on how you can help
- Modify your resume
- Offer a commitment
- Take salary off the table
Why are you overqualified?
For most baby boomers there are a lot of reasons for being overqualified.
1. I just need a job!
The most common reason that we apply for jobs for which we are overqualified is desperation.
The reality is companies are looking for people who can grow into a job. I discuss this in my post – Perfect Fit for the Position? Expect to Lose!
One of the most common errors I see people make when they are desperate is to apply for multiple jobs at the same company. This tells recruiters that you do not know what you want. Therefore, you are kicked out almost immediately.
If there are multiple positions that you might fit, find the one that is the closest fit and apply for that one position! You may be overqualified but tailor your resume for that position and follow the instructions in the Mashable article.
The goal is to have a discussion with someone at the company about the problems they are having and how you might be able to solve their problems.
You may want to take the approach of wanting to “date” to get a job. I wrote about this in the post 3 Ways to Date to Get a Job.
2. There are few jobs in the area where I live that meet my qualifications!
I wrote about this in my post Over Sixty and Out of Work – Options.
If you are finding very few jobs where you are qualified and lots where you are over qualified, you will need to expand the area where you are looking. The good thing is many companies are allowing people to work remotely.
I want you to read two posts:
- #2 Method to Find Companies – LinkedIn Advanced Search
- Finding People Who Look, Taste and Smell Like You
Stop looking for jobs and look for companies that are capable of hiring you. You can do this by searching LinkedIn for people who are performing the work you want to do. You may well find people working for companies that have no physical presence in your area.
3. I want to scale back and not work so hard!
I have been here. You are either changing careers or just want to take a lower level position with less money. This is a lifestyle decision that will not be apparent in your resume or social media profiles.
On paper, you are overqualified. Employers are not interested in hiring people who are overqualified!
How do you overcome this?
There are three words that you need to remember!
Relationships, relationships, and relationships!
I wrote about this in my post, Combat Age Discrimination with Strategic Relationships.
When you want to scale back in your career, finding these kinds of positions will not be found by applying online. They need to know who you are, your values and what you stand for! This is when you want to leverage your weak ties.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of weak ties, please read the following posts:
- Search weak ties Discover the Power of Weak Ties After 50
- #1 Method to Find Companies – Weak Ties
- Weak Ties versus Strong Ties in your Job Search
Acquiring a position where you are overqualified will only come via a relationship and your weak ties are incredibly valuable.
When you are overqualified it is not about dumbing down your qualifications. It is about:
- Finding ways to solve the employer’s problems.
- Getting creative and finding ways to “date” to get a job.
- Leveraging the relationships you have created over the last 20 or 30 or 40 years.
Have you experienced being overqualified for positions? What did you do?
KENDELL GARDNER says
I am in this very sinking boat and it is very discouraging. I found the part that you stated about only applying for one position at a company interesting. This is actually happening with me right now. I applied for a job I was “overqualified for” and the recruiter just did not feel comfortable hiring me. She said that she was afraid that I would be bored within 3 months. I have been out of work for 2 years. Her comment to me was “why aren’t you applying for other positions in the company that you are more qualified. I actually did (was very good fit for either) but those positions were in other states and being in sales, they would rather have someone already in the area that is familiar with the territory and accounts. So, another issue that we are facing, along with the ‘over qualified” is the “wrong zip code”. There are so many job seekers that many companies even indicate in their posting “must reside in the territory”. I even offered to move and pay relo myself, but it still didn’t work. I completely hear the “relationship, relationship, relationship thing, and I network my rear off everyday. I spend hours on LInked-in and contacting people I know almost every day. The one job that I spoke of that told me I was overqualified, just put another ad out yesterday for the same position. I told them that I would give them a time commitment regarding the job. I just feel totally trapped either way.
Marc Miller says
It sounds like you need an internal referral. Do you know anyone at the company? If not, is there someone you can make a connection and ask for help?
Like Marc has suggested offer a solution be a solution oriented applicant not another person looking for a job. If all else fails Marc recommends the entrepreneurial approach heck you don’t need a website you can be an Amazon affiliate or resell items online. Be a problem solver otherwise your employment application goes straight to the shredder.